The Unsung Benefits Of Video Games

Tia Winter | 20 April 2018

At this point in time, a large number of people alive in the present grew up with video games. Moreover, if this is your reality, you can probably remember a time when stern warnings were issued about video games and the fact that children should be playing outside instead. Recently however, there has been a new awareness around the benefits of video games and it turns out that there are many psychological and well as physiological benefits to playing video games. We examine some of those benefits.

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Improved Hand/Eye Coordination

Video games are producing better surgeons. Yes, it’s true. Studies show that small incision specialists who indulge in the habit of playing video games for more than three hours a week, are 32 per cent less likely to make an error during surgery than those who do not believe in the power of gaming.

Treating Amblyopia

Amblyopia is a condition that generally affects only one eye. The eye will become lazy and most people will eventually lose complete use of the affected eye. A lazy eye isn’t physically incapable of seeing. In fact, studies suggest that it’s very much a psychological problem. The traditional method of trying to shock a lazy eye back to seeing used to be to cover the good eye and encourage the patient to perform certain activities like knitting or painting or even watching television using only the lazy eye.

Recent studies have however shown that patients who are encouraged to play video games using only the lazy eye, tend to recover completely, as opposed to those who practised more traditional means of treatment.

The vision of the lazy eyes of video gamers is often restored completely, even to the point of 20/20 vision.

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Those who regularly play video games also show an improved propensity for multi-tasking. The ability to perform more than one task at a time makes for a special skill when playing most video games, as this is in fact required by the game. Studies show that the opposite is true as well. Those who regularly play video games tend to develop the faculty of multi-tasking, carrying the skill over into everyday life. This skill could also be learnt from playing casino games, as being able to use skill and strategy often comes into the equation, and players must stay sharp and focused, while preforming multiple different tasks.

The psychological test used to measure the skill of multi-tasking is called the Multi-Attribute Task Battery. Various studies have been performed using the Multi-Task Attribute Task Battery, especially on those individuals interested in piloting aircraft. The test involves the use of a joystick to control an object on-screen, whilst following certain audio as well as visual instructions.

Those who tend to perform well in the Multi-Task Attribute Task Battery, also tend to display better piloting skills.

Mental Flexibility

The mind tends to want to reason in a linear fashion. As such, many people struggle with real-life situations requiring a sudden switch in decision-making between two conflicting set of circumstances, especially when a rapid switch is required. Studies show that those who regularly play video games develop an improved ability to switch between tasks without making any errors.

Overcoming Dyslexia

One of the main culprits cited for Dyslexia, is the inability to pay attention. In other words, a wandering mind seems to be evil-doer. Studies show that sufferers of Dyslexia improved their reading skills by engaging in video games. The reason seems to be that playing video games greatly improves the ability to focus on changing environments that require better focus. Focus is the missing puzzle piece for most people suffering from Dyslexia. Increasing the ability to focus improves the ability to read and write.

Slowing Down The Clock

Problem solving has long been accepted as one of the best ways to slow the process of cognitive demise. Video games involving the solving of problems, as well as deciphering puzzles and clues, have been found to be especially effective in slowing down the cognitive ageing process. Participants 50 years and older, especially, seem to benefit from playing video games. The positive effects are often found to last for years after as little as 10 hours of play.

Social Connections

One of the favourite reasons cited by anti-video gaming lobbyists used to be the one of social isolation. This is no longer the case, thanks to the introduction of multi-player games that are played online. Players now interact with others and team up in order to solve common problems, mixing the concern that gamers will become isolated and their social developing will be stunted.

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